Environmental certification vs. energy certification

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by Laura Crisci and Paolo D'Agostino

Buildings are the source of about 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU.

But the future for the housing market turns to green, in the sense that will be increasingly frequent environmental certification of buildings coupled to the energy. In Italy we are just beginning regarding green building, but the road taken is the right one, as evidenced by a growing number of investors in the service-oriented technologies in this sector.

The certification attests to the energy supply or energy efficiency, of a building, ie the annual requirement of energy needed to meet winter heating and summer services, domestic water heating, ventilation and lighting according to standard use, depending on the characteristics of localization, position, plant and equipment insulation of the building. The energy performance certificate shall also contain recommendations for improving that performance which is expressed by a key indicator called "energy performance index for the annual winter heating" and allows a classification of merit of the buildings.

Energy certification was introduced by EU Directive 2002/91, with mandatory requirements for all Member States. Subsequently, Directive 2002/91/EC abrogated 2010/31/Ue, and ordered, among other things, the establishment of a framework comparative methodology for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum performance requirements for efficiency of buildings and building elements, made by the European Commission Regulation no. 244, 01.16.2012. On April 19, have been published on G.e. the guidelines that accompany the Regulation 244/2012.

It was implemented in Italy with Legislative Decrees 192/2005 and 311/2006, and was finally implemented by Presidential Decree 59/2009 and with Dm Economic Development June 26, 2009 (containing the criteria for the calculation). The Legislative Decree of 3 March 2011, n. 28 has also introduced some changes to the Legislative Decree 19 August 2005, n. 192 relating to contracts of sale and rental, and commercial advertisements for the sale of property by making it compulsory from 1 January 2012, indicating the energy efficiency index in kWh / sq m on the ads of any type and any media (only in Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Lombardia can be shown the energy class).

The certification of the property energy (ACE), valid for 10 years, is therefore mandatory. Is considered necessary for the acts of sale (since 2009), acts of rent (since 2010), as well to benefit of the tax deduction of 55%.

The transposition of Directive 2002/91/EC in Italy occurred unevenly. The Report 2012 on the energy certification of buildings in Italy, made by CTI - Italian Heat Energy and Environment Committee - shows that 10 regions (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Marche, Molise, Sardegna, Umbria and Veneto) do not have a framework law on the matter. Only 4 regions (Emilia Romagna, Lombardia, Piemonte, Valle d'Aosta) have a regional energy register. Abruzzo, Liguria and Veneto will provide the activation in 2012. In addition to the 8 regions that already have a list of certifiers (Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Lombardia, Piemonte, Puglia, Sicilia, Trento and Valle d'Aosta), only other 5 (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Lazio, Umbria and Veneto) plan to establish it .

The energy performance certificates registered at 31 December 2011 were 1,375,023, of which 710,000 (51.63%) in Lombardy.

The formation of the certifiers, the calculation procedure, the self-declaration in the class G and penalties are among the most critical elements.
The calculation procedure used for the assessment of energy indicators is not the same for all the regions. The reference in this field are the technical standards of the national package UNI / TS 11300, mandatory according to the Decree n.115/2008. The May 10 was published the UNI / TS 11300-4 "Energy performance of buildings using renewable energy and other methods of generation for space heating and domestic hot water production" that unifies and transposing Directive 2010/31 / u.

Lombardia, Piemonte, Emilia Romagna, Toscana, Veneto and the Autonomous Province of Trento have begun controls on the quality of certificates issued. Monitoring activities from the Regions, where undertaken, showed a high percentage of non-compliant certificates.

The energy performance certificate must be carried out by experts who prove to be unrelated to the property. On self declaration in the class G of the property owner hangs a notice procedure by the European Commission, which does not allow the possibility of self declaring the class G.

Unlike the energy certification, in our country, the environmental certification of buildings is not compulsory is made voluntarily giving added value to the building being certified.

Through the environmental certification, the building is classified according to its environmental sustainability, the stage of construction until the disposal of demolition waste.

The environmental certification of buildings is related to some key stages in the construction of a building: environmentally oriented design, which must take into account the materials used for construction, the environmental impact of the construction site, the choice of raw materials, which must be certified and environmentally friendly, the place of obtaining raw materials, as shorter distances imply less pollution linked to the transportation of materials, disposal of materials, which must be limited to environmental impact and not harmful to health, as occurred in the past , such as asbestos, energy consumption and life of the building, because it is a very important aspect related to energy saving building and dismantling of the building, which should be as low as possible environmental impact and with the least possible emission of dust into the atmosphere.

Environmental certifications currently operating are based on one of the following criteria:

Minimum threshold standards: the certification body establishes the minimum requirements needed to access the environmental certification.

Score: the certification body defines a number of factors such as making sure you get the score for the preparation of the certificate of environmental compatibility.

In Italy, there are various kinds of environmental certification, the best known are the LEED Rating System-GBC Italy, Protocollo Itaca, CasaClia-KlimaHaus.

CasaClia-KlimaHaus is a system of energy certification in force only in the Province of Bolzano. Classes ranging from gold to F. For Gold classes, A and B, it's possible to add a "+" in the case of buildings made with green materials and using renewable energy resources.

Born in 1998 in the United States, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a certification program covering the entire life cycle and environmental compatibility of residential and commercial buildings, from design to construction. It's based on the allocation of "credits" for each requirement and their price is the level of certification, from Base to Platinum.

Protocollo Itaca, approved in 2004 by the Conference of Italian Regions, evaluates the quality and environmental sustainability of residential buildings and covers both the consumption of energy resources and the impact of environmental loads (emissions of greenhouse gases, solid and liquid waste products). Based on performance, the building receives a score ranging from -1 to +5.

Other national and international environmental certifications are listed below:

- Ecolabel - “thresold” brand

- Klima: aktiv - brand "to score"

- Haute Qualité Environmentale (HQE) – "threshold" brand

Guideline for Sustainable Buildings - (not yet defined a specific brand)

- Protocol Ithaca - "to score" brand
- CasaClima - KlimaHaus - "to score" brand
- SB100 - "to score" brand
- GBC Italy - "to score" brand

Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland
- Nordic Ecolabelling - "threshold" brand

- Resolution MAH/1390/2006 (1389/2006) – "threshold" brand

United Kingdom
- BREEAM - "to score" brand

- Minergie - ECO / P Minergie-ECO - "threshold" brand

- LEED Rating Systems (GBC) - "to score" brand

- Green Star (Green Building Council Australia) - "to score" brand

CASBEE - "to score" brand

Constructing a building with high energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable is 10% more expensive, but the costs are recovered from both the energy savings, and by the fact that the value of the property is higher.

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